What I Learned from a Week on Food Stamps: Paul Ryan Couldn’t Be Any More Wrong

A surprisingly well done article, even though it springs from what I consider an overdone and less than useful premise that I’ve seen before: a reporter using SNAP for a week. However, this one is has decent information and connects this issue to some larger issues, partially thanks to Daniel Bowman Simon.

The average amount that a family on food stamps gets per month is $133. That is $133 for 93 meals. For three meals a day, $133 breaks down to less than $1.50 per meal.

Luckily, the New York City Department of Human Resources’ website has guides available for SNAP participants, including a one that explains how to “Cut the Junk” and another with recipes for healthy and cheap meals on it. (Most of these are bean/chili based….)

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Daniel Bowman Simon is deep into SNAP, which is the focal point of his research at New York University’s Food Studies program. And he is frustrated. Seated in the Food Studies program’s fifth-floor conference room, he ticks off a list of grievances relating to the SNAP program and the Farm Bill, as well as the media’s coverage of the issue — framed as a contest between farm subsidies and SNAP benefits….

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My mom posed a simple question: “Sarah, does SNAP feed people?”

“Yes,” I responded, “and it’s actually really efficient.” It’s true: SNAP has less than a 4 percent error rate, according to Riley — and sometimes that error is because of people who received less money than they should have. The program also has very low rates of fraud. The USDA just released a report saying that only 2.77 percent of errors in the programwere in the form of overpayment, which includes fraudulent applications.

“Food is one of the most cost effective forms of prevention,” Sarah Franklin explains. Obesity, cognitive abilities, and heart disease are all linked to eating habits. “Making sure that people have access to food is, in my mind, one of the most important and no-brainer policies,” she says. “The food stamp program, even though it’s not the perfect program — to make cuts to that program is idiotic.”

What I Learned from a Week on Food Stamps: Paul Ryan Couldn’t Be Any More Wrong | Alternet.

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